Mexican Cilantro and Papalo
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Tom Austin
Posted on: February 13, 2002

Inge, what is this plant [papalo]?

I am very interested in it. I have Mexican Cilantro here in Fla. which has sharp pointed leaves and it is growing extremely well for me outdoors and it is a perennial too which I like because Chinese Cilantro is a pain....being not even an annual really because you have to plant 4 crops per year to have green leaves all the time. Not so with Mexican Cilantro, which I can get at Publix (biggest & best chain of supermarkets. in Florida) in the produce dept. as live plants along with other herb plants.

The picture of this does NOT look like my Mexican Cilantro. Can you tell me how it grows? Does it sprawl like oregano or does it grow tall and not bushy? Is it a climber rather than a rambler? Is it a small tree or shrub?

What you have is what we call Mexican coriander or "culantro". The botanical name is Eryngium foetidum. It grows as a low sprawling plant as you describe.

The variety below is completely different. It resembles coriander in flavour only, but looks totally different, growing much taller. The leaves are more tender than culantro and are lighter green.

PAPALO

Porophyllum ruderale ssp. macrocephalum

Tender Perennial Uses: culinary industrial medicinal Sow No:12

(Papaloquelite) Fabulous new herb from Mexico. This is really a type of coriander, only stronger. Leaves possess huge oil glands which give papalo its potent flavour and scent. The flavour gets stronger the older the leaves get. Grows up to 2 m (8’) high, but can be harvested at a much smaller stage when the flavour is milder. In Mexico, used fresh with soups and stews, grilled meats, beans and salads, much like cilantro. Papalo is not cooked, only used fresh or added at the last moment. If you are a cilantro aficionado, this is a must!

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